Problem Formulation and Solution Overview
Virtual Environments are best used when a coder or several coders work together to develop medium to large-scale applications. The best approach is to keep this code and associated libraries and dependencies separate. This is where a Virtual Environment comes in!
Setting up the Environment
Open the Visual Studio Code Editor and create a new folder that will house the Python script to be worked on.
Create a blank script file called
sales.py and place this file into this directory.
From the View menu, select Command Pallette or press
CTRL+SHIFT+P on the keyboard for the same result.
The above action displays a dropdown box. Start typing the word Python: Create Environment, or if visible, click to select this option.
The above action displays another dropdown box. For this article, the first option was selected (
The above action displays another dropdown box. For this article, the second option was selected (
Python 3.11.0 64-bit).
The above action starts the installation of the Virtual Environment. Wait for this process to complete.
Once the Virtual Environment is installed, the following occurs:
- A message in the status bar indicates the name of the Virtual Environment (
- A new folder called
Next, locate and open the
activate.bat from the
.venv\Scripts folder. From the Main Menu, Click
Run → Start Debugging or press
F5 on the keyboard.
If successful, the command prompt changes similar to below.
You are now officially working in a Virtual Environment.
💡Note: If an error is generated when running this
.bat file, you may need to install an extension that reads Batch files. For this article, Batch Runner was installed.
Install Required Library
For this article, our
sales.py file reads in the
sales.csv file. This means that the
pandas library will need to be installed. To perform this task, navigate to the terminal window and run the following code.
pip install pandas
If successful, the
pandas library is now installed in the Virtual Environment and if we run
sales.py there should be no errors.
💡 Note: Install any other required libraries the same way.
Generate a Requirements File
A Requirements File can be created at any time during the development cycle. This file is a checklist for the Python application in question. It lists all libraries and associated versions used in the app.
To generate a
requirements.txt file, navigate to the terminal and run the following code:
pip freeze > requirements.txt
This action generates the above-noted file and places it into, for this example, the
SALES_APP folder. Open this file and scroll down to see the
pandas library listed, including the version number. This is handy when deploying to another Virtual Environment to ensure the correct library versions are installed.
Deactivating the Virtual Environment
To deactivate the Virtual Environment, click the (
.venv:env) link in the bottom-right of the IDE. This action displays the Interpreter dropdown box. Select
Python 3.11.0 64-bit or any other option that does not contain the
If successful, the status bar no longer has the (.venv:env) link, and the prompt no longer contains that as well.
While still in the Virtual Environment, another option is to navigate to the Scripts folder, open and run
This article showed you how to setup, activate, and de-activate a Virtual Environment in the VS Code IDE.
At university, I found my love of writing and coding. Both of which I was able to use in my career.
During the past 15 years, I have held a number of positions such as:
In-house Corporate Technical Writer for various software programs such as Navision and Microsoft CRM
Corporate Trainer (staff of 30+)
Implementation Specialist for Navision and Microsoft CRM
Senior PHP Coder